Sunday, August 12, 2007

Franklin County Race + Instructions for fermenting energy drink

Today was the Franklin County MW Windows Race at Waid Park. This is Race 1 of the VA Derailler Series

We've been coming to this for the past few years and it's a great family affair. Well run kids race, good food, live music, good racing. Just a great event. Loaded all the bikes on the Swagman rack and got the kids packed up.

The kids races was first. My oldest was a little nervous and the youngest was excited.
IMG_0424 IMG_0423
*notice the look on the little's one face. Already at Defcon 2 on the meltdown meter and it wasn't even 10am yet.

The kids did one lap in the 5-9 year old class on a pretty decent track which included some roots, rocks, and a sketchy bridge where some kids stacked it. At the end of the race I took my older son back to the car real quick and when we got back they'd started the 10-12 year old race and my wife was screaming at me that she couldn't find Lucas our youngest.

We weren't sure if he took a different way to the parking lot or had gone back to the registration tent so we started riding all around. Then a few minutes later he comes riding across the bridge finishing up a lap of the kids race. He'd gotten confused and had taken off with the big kids and did another lap. I guess he wanted some more training as 1 lap wasn't enough.

With that excitement past it was time for my race. 3 laps in the expert class. I'd been waffling on what the strageny was going to be for this race. One option was to treat it like a training event and just go for the blow up for training purposes. However last year this was my first expert race. I'd made myself sick to my stomach be combining too much energy drink and gels and ended up finish pretty well back. So on the other hand I wanted to ride it well and see where I'd end up if raced smart.

In the end I opted to race it like a real race for time. The start is on a pretty steep grassy/dirt climb. I'm realizing that it is just too easy for me to over cook it on the starts and that once blown it takes an incredibly long time to recover if ever. Therefore, I opted for the sloooow start. Tucked in behind the big guns and drafted till the hill started then faded back to practically the end of the combined expert start.

The legs felt very stiff and just didn't want to turn. I'd taken my -1hr sport legs dose and one dose right on the start line. I'm thinking that for these short races the -1hr does really isn't that helpful and the end result is slow legs off the start.

On this start hill I also took a swig of my energy drink in my camel bak. First sip of the day as it is bad news for me to intake any carbs within the hr before the race. Umm. this tastes interesting...a little funky. It was the Ice Tea flavor of Power bar energy drink which is a very acquired taste to begin with. And today it tasted more like creme soda root beer with a kick.

OOoh no. Big mistake. I'd filled up my camel bak the night before and put it in the car so I wouldn't make the mistake of forgetting it the next day. However it's been in the 90s all week and the garage stays in the 90s-80s almost all the time. So I basically created a bacteria playground in my camel bak and then placed it in the equivalent of an open bar for bacteria.

Now I've got myself into a Catch 22. My only source of carbs is this go-juice. Risk intestinal distress by drinking it, or risk the bonk by not. I decided to tempt potential la-guardia and drink it rather than risk bonking. Thankfully I'd had a very carb loaded pre race breakfast and hardly swigged more than 20oz and took rest of the camel back for a ride.

My wife was pretty upset when I told her. She's got a thing about food safety but it takes things like this to teach me proper like.

As everyone and their mom passed me I was resigning myself to repeating last year's performance and thinking that I should give up racing. Oh NO! I'm starting to sound like Warren (just kidding Warren!!)Buck up man this is a race and I paid to be here and dragged my family out here and it's time to get on it. So about 2/3rds into the lap I started to come around and start catching back up.

By the end of the second lap I realized that I was right about where I should be, around a lot of the guys I am competitive with. Kenny, Charles, Robbie.. So this validated my strategy of just going off the start conservatively.

I tried to then just keep it steady and make some controlled efforts into the red zone on the climbs and then try to recover back to steady state. At one point I was drafting off Robbie and he rode over a stick that kicked back into my front wheel and then thankfully disintegrated into twigs. Nice try. However, at the huge river fording he gapped and I was never able to get back on.

Speaking of huge river fording. This thing was up to my hips, at least it wasn't flowing fast like in years past. I dislike this feature of the race. It takes about 2 months to get rid of the fine silt like mud from the shoes and the bike.

I'm realizing that regardless of the length of a race be it 1hr or 3hrs. My steady state speed is pretty similar. To race my strengths is to start out under the blow-up redline and then just ride this steady state speed and burn a few matches here/there as needed. This also hits home that my training needs to be harder and more focused on riding beyond this area in order to bump up the steady state.

In the end I finished around 1:20-1:21. This was 7-8 minutes faster than last year (though the course slightly different than last year). 5/9 for Vet Ex. 1st and 2nd in Vet Ex were in the 1:15-1:16 range and were Ron and CP who are in the top 4 over all for experts. 3rd was 3mins up and 4th was 1min up. So overall I'm really happy with that.

This has been my first full year as a vet expert. It's an excercise in just plugging away. Similar to the move to sport from beginner there is a large range of riders and just getting into the top half is a worthy goal.

I finished feeling totally fine. It wasn't until about 1/2hr later that I started to get queasy. This delayed onset of queasiness is usually the sign of a good race but it could have been the camel back funk-a-ramo reaping it's magic on me. We had to leave post haste as the 6year old had reached DefCon for signalling imminent meltdown. Meltdown was reached on the way home and we had to detour in the parking lot of the Wal mart for a timeout.

It's amazing how much a 1.5 hr effort can drain you.

I bottled the rest of the Camelbak as barley wine which will be finished aging in a few weeks.

PS Kenny I hope your leg gets better.
Notes to self
-used bottle of ice/water to pour on my head. Not too hot at all on the course today but it still seemed helpful at the top of the climbs

-It always seemed better to stay in the big ring and 2 cogs down as opposed to using the equivalent gear in the middle ring, regardless of the additional drag on the drivetrain.

-Need to get better mental strength for keeping someone's wheel

-steep climbing went well but the power sections after the climbs weren't as strong. Cleaned every climb. and the first creek crossing this year.


At 8:09 AM, Blogger Skmeetz said...

Good job Ashwin! Yea, I DID think about quitting this race and racing all together, but it's too much fun - even if I am getting my rear handed to me right now. I feel lucky just to be back out there after the 5 weeks of mystery illness. See you in Danville.


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